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Perhaps it bothered you more than somewhat that, after the CIA gave
Gov. George W. Bush several days of briefings on the world situation
last week, he felt compelled to issue a warning to terrorists not to
view the extended delay in the transfer of presidential power as an
opportunity to attack U.S. interests at home or abroad. “I have all the
confidence in the world that the Clinton administration and the next
administration, which I hope is the Bush administration, would do
whatever it takes to send a chilling signal to terrorists that we’ll
protect our property and our people,” he said.

Think about it. When Clinton-Gore wrested power away from him,
President George Bush — supported by a Democrat-controlled Congress –
had been moving at unprecedented speed to address, unilaterally, the
consensus No. 1 threat to our national security — namely, terrorists
and rogue states getting their hands on nukes. Now, after eight years
of Clinton-Gore stewardship, after their essentially abandoning the
Bush-Nunn-Lugar unilateral approach, the CIA evidently assesses the
loose nuke threat to be much worse now than when Clinton-Gore took
office.

How could that be? Well, if you’ve been a faithful reader of these
columns, you know the answer.

The goal of the Bush-Quayle administration had been to prevent the
proliferation of nukes — the goal of the Clinton-Gore administration
has been nuke disarmament.

Bush-Quayle had focused on preventing terrorists and rogue
nation-states from getting their hands on nukes. Clinton-Gore focused,
instead, on getting nation-states to get rid of the nukes they already
had. As ought to be intuitively obvious to the most casual observer,
complete success — even had it been obtained — by Clinton-Gore would
not have reduced one iota the threat of loose nukes to those assembled
on the West Front of the Capitol next Jan. 20.

Bush-Quayle and the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Congress had focused on
preventing the proliferation of Russian nukes, fissile materials,
nuke technologies and nuke technologists to terrorists and rogue
states. To prevent the theft of Russian nukes, the Pentagon and DOE
weapons-labs provided the Russians with U.S. armored rail-cars to
transport Soviet nukes back into Russia and U.S. armor blankets to cover
them when not yet in armored rail-cars. We provided them with thousands
of U.S. “bird cages” to safely store the fissile materials recovered
from thousands of dismantled Soviet nukes. We provided them with many
millions of dollars worth of U.S.-style fissile material protection –
control and accounting equipment — then helped them install it and
trained them how to use it.

In order to reduce the loose-nuke threat, Bush-Nunn-Lugar offered to
purchase excess Russian fissile materials, including the plutonium and
highly-enriched uranium (HEU) recovered from the thousands of Soviet
nukes being dismantled. An almost unbelievable offer. Unbelievably,
the Russians accepted our unbelievable offer.

Here is the point that seems to have been lost on Clinton-Gore: The
Russians realized that it was their fissile materials that were
the loose-nuke threat to themselves, to us, and the world — not ours.
They realized that it was in their best interests to sell
their fissile materials to us. They certainly knew that we
wouldn’t make new nukes out of the Russian fissile materials. As they
well knew, we already had tons of plutonium and HEU that we had
recovered from the thousands of battlefield nukes the Bush-Quayle
administration had already begun dismantling upon winning the Cold War.

Seemingly oblivious to all that, Clinton-Gore came to power and
focused not on the safe and secure disposition of the HEU and plutonium
being recovered from dismantled Russian nukes — the administration
focused, instead, on negotiating the dismantlement of more and more
Russian and U.S. nukes. Instead of continuing to provide the
Russians U.S. equipment and technical assistance to prevent Russian
nukes from getting loose, Clinton-Gore set about getting the Russians –
and in the process, the United States — to disarm. They actually used
Nunn-Lugar-Domenici loose-nuke assistance as a negotiating tool,
withholding it until the Russians agreed to dismantle yet more nukes.
(Of course, the Russians were already dismantling faster than the
Clinton-Gore administration could negotiate.)

Clinton-Gore should have realized that the Russians had no intention
– then or now — of disarming. (And, apparently, neither does
President-elect George W. Bush.) But the Clinton-Gore-Greenpeace
Administration was hell-bent on nuke disarmament by the five
Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) nuke states — U.S., UK, France, Russia
and China — from the get-go. The nuke disarmament process was to be
presided over by the United Nations through the subsidiary International
Atomic Energy Agency.

Now, the IAEA was originally established in 1957 to provide the
benefits of nuclear energy to the world. In 1977, the IAEA took on the
job of “policing” the NPT membership. The IAEA was supposed to ensure
that those NPT signatories not already having nukes, did not — in the
process of acquiring peaceful nuclear energy technology — deliberately
or inadvertently acquire the materials or technologies necessary to make
nukes. That is, a collateral IAEA duty was to “monitor” NPT
nation-state adherence to the NPT, to help prevent nuke proliferation.

But, as we now know, when Bill Clinton says “prevent nuke
proliferation,” he doesn’t mean that — he means “disarm.”

In particular, in April 1996, after stalling for three years on
Bush-Nunn-Lugar initiatives to unilaterally purchase outright excess
Russian HEU and plutonium, President Clinton met with Boris Yeltsin and
the G7 Group of Industrialized Nations (U.S., UK, France, Germany,
Japan, Canada and the European Union) at the Moscow Nuclear Safety and
Security Summit. How did the G7 get into the loose-nuke act? Well, the
Clinton “spin” for involving the G7 in Nunn-Lugar-Domenici loose nuke
programs was to focus “new international attention on the pressing
international security problem posed by the excess stocks of fissile
material.”

But, their attention wasn’t focused on the “excess stocks.”
Clinton-Gore wasn’t primarily concerned about a rogue state or a
terrorist group acquiring the “excess stocks.” Clinton-Gore was
primarily concerned about the Russians making new nukes out of the
“excess” materials. The presidents of the United States and Russia,
together with the finance ministers of the G7, gave the game away when
they expressed their determination to ensure that “fissile material
designated as no longer required for defense purposes will never again
be used for nuclear-explosive purposes.”

And the next year, when the U.S. and Russia finally got around to
signing the U.S.-IAEA-Russia Trilateral Agreement on disposing excess
Russian and U.S. plutonium recovered from dismantled nukes, Clinton-Gore
intentions were further revealed:

Creating confidence that these large stockpiles of excess fissile
materials will not be re-used for weaponry by our two countries is
critically important to enhance the prospects for agreement on deeper
cuts in our nuclear arsenals, to help induce the other nuclear-weapon
states to join the nuclear disarmament process, and to reinforce the
global nonproliferation regime by indicating that the ongoing U.S. and
Russian nuclear-disarmament process is genuine and not likely to be
reversed.

That’s disarmament talk, folks, pure and simple.

So, Bush-Nunn-Lugar started out eight years ago to assist –
unilaterally — the Russians deal with the No. 1 threat to our
national security — their nukes getting loose. But the
Clinton-Gore administration hijacked those unilateral Nunn-Lugar
loose-nukes programs, subverted them, and turned them into international
disarmament programs. The Clinton-Gore administration placed all its
faith — to prevent nuke proliferation as well as to disarm — in the
United Nations and its enforcement, by moral suasion, of the
Nonproliferation Treaty and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Seldom has
so much faith been so misplaced.

It wouldn’t be quite so bad if Clinton-Gore had managed — through
the United Nations — to get the Chinese and the Russians to disarm.
But the administration hasn’t. The Russians are dismantling nukes just
as fast as they can because they want to, not because Clinton-Gore made
them. But the Russians are not actually disarming. Both the Russians
and Chinese intend to keep the nuke stockpile they believe they need to
keep. (That’s what President-elect Bush says we’re going to do, too.)

And it wouldn’t be quite so bad if Clinton-Gore had managed –
through the United Nations — to keep non-NPT states, such as India and
Pakistan, from acquiring and testing nukes. But they didn’t.

Now, maybe Clinton-Gore have managed — through the United Nations –
to keep terrorist groups and rogue states such as Iraq and North Korea
from acquiring nukes, after all. But if that’s the case, why was Bill
Clinton so anxious to get President-elect Bush “to send a chilling
signal to terrorists” last week that Bubba Clinton would continue, for
the rest of December and most of January, to “protect our property and
our people”?

Maybe it’s not such a great idea to have the entire government of the
United States standing out there on the West Front of the Capitol next
Jan. 20.

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